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Deque Systems Sues BrowserStack for Intellectual Property Theft

HERDON, Va., Feb. 14, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Deque Systems Inc., the leading provider of web and mobile accessibility solutions, filed a federal lawsuit yesterday against BrowserStack, Inc. and its affiliate companies for copyright infringement, breach of contract and false advertising. Given the scope of the alleged theft, the case has significant ramifications for the accessibility software market and disability community more broadly. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

As alleged in the suit, Deque decided to pursue the case after learning that BrowserStack, a venture-capital-backed company valued at $4 billion, had entered the accessibility testing market in 2023 with a replica of axe DevTools® browser extension, part of Deque’s proprietary accessibility testing product. Similarities between the products reveal that the copying was intentional, pervasive and blatant.

“The facts here are simple: BrowserStack engineers licensed our axe DevTools® browser extension, accessed our code, blatantly copied it into their product, and then tried to market their stolen product as better than ours,” said Dylan Barrell, Deque’s Chief Technology Officer. “We invested decades of work and tens of millions of dollars to build an innovative product that enables true accessibility for people with disabilities. We’re outraged by the actions of BrowserStack. Digital Equality for all is built on innovation, not theft.”

For nearly 25 years, Deque has pursued its mission of Digital Equality by offering tools, services and training to help developers ensure their pages and products are fully accessible to people with disabilities. The company has helped enterprise-level organizations – including large U.S. banks, technology companies, retailers, airlines, hotel chains, insurance companies, and government agencies – ensure the accessibility of their sites and mobile apps through testing software like axe DevTools®.

Funded by the sale of its proprietary software products and consulting services, Deque also provides its award-winning accessibility rules engine, axe-core®, as free, open-source software. It has been downloaded over 1 billion times and is viewed as the de facto standard for accessibility testing by Google, Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice, among others.

“Ultimately, one of the key reasons we decided to pursue litigation is so that Deque can continue its longstanding mission of serving and supporting the disability community and ensuring a level, accessible playing field for all,” said Preety Kumar, Founder and CEO of Deque. “We offered our axe-core® software for free because we never want to see accessibility issues stand in the way of opportunity, but we depend on our proprietary product sales to fund this important work. BrowserStack’s theft of our IP has jeopardized our critical mission of Digital Equality.”

Beyond its innovative technology offerings, Deque has been a respected voice in the disability community for years. It has provided financial support to disability rights advocacy organizations, scholarships for people with disabilities, and has consistently worked to raise the salary floor and create high-quality employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Deque also hosts axe-con, the largest accessibility conference in the industry, as a free and virtual resource for the accessibility community.

Deque has requested that the court recognize that BrowserStack infringed Deque’s copyrights, breached its contractual obligations provided in the Terms of Use and license, and made false and misleading statements in its advertising of this stolen product. The company is also requesting that BrowserStack immediately stop all sales and advertising for their product and provide financial compensation for the loss of sales Deque may have suffered due to BrowserStack’s copyright infringement and false advertising, among other remedies.

Deque is represented in the case by law firm Dykema.

About Deque Systems

Deque (pronounced dee-cue) is a web accessibility software and services company, and our mission is Digital Equality. We believe everyone, regardless of their ability, should have equal access to information, services, applications, and everything else on the web. We work with enterprise-level businesses and organizations to ensure that their sites and mobile apps are accessible. Installed in 875,000+ browsers and with 6,000+ audit projects completed, Deque is the industry standard.

Axe ® is a registered trademark of Deque Systems, Inc.

SOURCE Deque Systems Inc.,

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/deque-systems-sues-browserstack-for-intellectual-property-theft-302061291.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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